Random Revelations: Article #164- 41 Astonishingly Weird Random Facts to Amaze You

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1Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass

Abolitionist Frederick Douglass was the most photographed American of the 19th century and never smiled in a single photo, to counter the notion of a happy slave.


2. The secular holiday Festivus was not invented for Seinfeld. It was created in the mid-sixties by author Daniel O'Keefe as a way of rejecting the commercialism of Christmas with his family. His son later was a writer for Seinfeld and introduced his family's tradition.


3. The Greek Titan Atlas was condemned to hold up the sky, not the Earth. The sphere he holds is the celestial sphere, not the globe.


4. During World War 2, Roza Robota with a group of prisoners at Auschwitz succeeded in blowing up one of the crematoriums using gunpowder smuggled one teaspoon at a time from the nearby munitions factory where some prisoners were forced to work.


5. American employees at large-sized companies (1000 or more employees) only spend 45% of their time actually "working"—that is, time spent on primary job duties and not on meetings, administrative tasks, and interruptions.


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6Hero kitty

Hero kitty

In 2017, a house cat bit its owner in the middle of the night to alert the family that their house was on fire in Alberta, Canada. The family got out in time with no injuries and the fire department confirmed that the cat was partially responsible for the rescue.


7. The word “Jiffy” (as in, “I’ll be back in a jiffy” or “Jiffy Lube”) refers to an actual Unit of time, ‘The Jiffy’, is defined as “the amount of time light takes to travel one fermi (about the size of a nucleon) in a vacuum.”


8. On December 6, 1973, Richard Nixon used his power under the 25th Amendment to appoint Ford as his new vice president of the United States. To date, Ford remains the only person to assume the roles of both President and Vice President without having been elected by the electoral college.


9. An army’s “infantry” is named so because it originally consisted of soldiers who were too young or inexperienced to be entrusted with a horse and be part of the cavalry.


10. In 2014, a dead body in Virginia was so obese that it’s fat set a crematorium on fire.


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11Raising a child

Raising a child

A newer study in 2017 discovered that the cost of raising a child to the age of 17 in the US averages $233,610 with rural children costing $193,020 and children in Urban North East costing $264,090. The same study also showed that each additional child is cheaper due to bulk buying and hand me downs.


12. Actor Sir Anthony Hopkins was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome only 10 years ago.


13. The revolving restaurant on top of the Seattle space needle weighs 125 tons. A 1.5 hp motor is enough to revolve it because the restaurant is perfectly balanced.


14. Prince William breaks royal protocol by flying with his children on the same plane. As direct heirs to the throne, his children should fly on a separate plane in case it crashes.


15. An old sailing superstition was that women on board ships were considered bad luck. However, if the women were naked, then they had the effect of “calming the seas” and was considered good luck.


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16Iran-Contra scandal

Iran-Contra scandal

Despite 12 indictments and several convictions of high-level officials involved in the Iran-Contra scandal, all perpetrators were either pardoned or had sentences overturned resulting in no prison time. The only person to go to jail was a minister who stole a street sign in protest.


17. Dove chocolate and Dove soap are owned by different companies. Because they are separated as different classes of goods/services, there is no trademark infringement.


18. George Orwell had trouble getting Animal Farm book published due to Soviet-British relations during World War 2. Once, a publisher agreed to release the novella but later reneged after warning from an officer at the British Ministry of Information. The officer was soon discovered to be a Soviet spy.


19. In 2004, a man named Ashley Revell sold all his possessions and put his entire net worth of $135,300 on red at the Plaza Hotel in Vegas. The ball landed on Red 7 and he walked out with $270,600.


20. In 1941, a Great Dane named Juliana saved her master's home from burning down during the Blitz by urinating on a German incendiary bomb which had fallen through the roof. For this, she was awarded the Blue Cross, similar to the Dickin Medal.


21Beer mugs

Beer mugs

Beer mugs are not called "steins" in Germany. "Stein" is the German word for "stone." The English word "stein" probably comes from the German word "Steinzeug" which means "stoneware"—the type of pottery that cheap beer mugs are often made of.


22. The myth of the changeling - of faeries replacing a stolen human child with their own - could have been born as an explanation of autistic children. Many traits associated with faeries, such as obsessive counting, are also known in the autism spectrum.


23. King Henry VIII loved adding guns to other weapons. His bodyguards carried shields with pistols built into them, and Henry himself had a walking stick that doubled as both a spiked mace and a three-barreled pistol.


24. An Indian book named Surya Siddhanta, which was written in 4th century C.E. perfectly describes the Earth’s diameter as 8000 miles (it is 7928 miles by current standards) and the spherical shape of the earth. The book also provided an accurate distance between Moon and Earth, much before Galileo.


25. During the Berlin air-lift, one USAF pilot named Gail Halvorsen secretly air-dropped candy to the kids below, rocking his plane so they'd know it was him flying overhead. They called him "Uncle Wiggly Wings."

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